Physical Interface Design


Recommended prerequisite for participation in the module

The module adds to knowledge obtained in Introduction to Programming, Interaction Design, and Mathematics for Multimedia Applications.

Content, progress and pedagogy of the module


Physical Interface Design is a course module where students learn about basic principles of electronics and how different sensors can be interfaced to a microcontroller to design novel forms of interactions between man and machines.

Learning objectives


Students who complete the module will obtain the following qualifications:

  • Should be able to recall basic circuit theory concepts and rules, including resistance, voltage, current, Ohm’s law, and Kirchoff’s laws (knowledge)
  • Should be able to describe basic analog (e.g., potentiometers, force sensitive resistors) and digital (e.g., push button, touch interface) sensing technologies (knowledge)
  • Should be able to express how a micro-controller can be used for measuring/actuating analog and digital inputs/outputs by the use of sensors and output devices (e.g., displays, LEDs, and vibrators) (understanding)
  • Should be able to recall that some functionalities can be implemented using both hardware and software (knowledge), and to discuss the pros and cons of either solution (understanding)
  • Should be able to identify practical needs in electric circuits such as DC filtering and circuit protection (understanding)
  • Should be able to describe basic amplification (e.g., OpAmp) and filtering (e.g., RC and RL) circuits (knowledge)
  • Should be able to explain basic concepts such as sampling and scaling in context of real-time use of signals (understanding)


Students who complete the module will obtain the following qualifications:

  • Should be able to apply the taught skills and methods on physical interface design to develop a prototype/artifact, and to demonstrate its use (application)
  • Should be able to formulate a linear system of equations for voltage, current and resistance relationships in an electric circuit, and to solve the system to find unknown currents, voltages, or resistances (application)
  • Should be able to use an electronic circuit simulator (application)
  • Should be able to sketch and interpret an electric circuit diagram (application)
  • Should be able to program a microcontroller to make it read inputs from sensor circuits and produce output(s) to a user (e.g., vibration, light, and text) (application)
  • Should be able to examine and verify basic electric circuit designs using, e.g., a multimeter, and to test if a build electric circuit has the desired functionalities (analysis)
  • Should be able to apply basic interface design principles for realizing a physical interface for human-computer interaction in the context of use (application)
  • Should be able to assess the artifact by applying taught evaluation method(s) (evaluation)


Students who complete the module will obtain the following qualifications:

  • Should be able to summarize the whole design process of the artifact (synthesis)
  • Should be able to use correct technical and theoretical terms in dissemination (application)

Type of instruction

Refer to the overview of instruction types listed in § 17. The types of instruction for this course are decided in accordance with the current Joint Programme Regulations and directions are decided and given by the Study Board for Media Technology.


Prerequisite for enrollment for the exam

  • Handing in of written assignments or the like
  • Completion of certain – or all – study activities


Name of examPhysical Interface Design
Type of exam
Written or oral exam
Note that if admittance to the exam or parts of the assessment is to be based on written work or exercises, a deadline is stipulated for when the work must be handed in.
Permitted aids
With certain aids:
See semester description
Assessment7-point grading scale
Type of gradingInternal examination
Criteria of assessmentThe criteria of assessment are stated in the Examination Policies and Procedures

Facts about the module

Danish titleFysisk interfacedesign
Module codeMSNMEDB4174
Module typeCourse
Duration1 semester
Language of instructionEnglish
Location of the lectureCampus Aalborg, Campus Copenhagen
Responsible for the module


Study BoardStudy Board of Media Technology, Study Board of Electronics and IT
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture, Design and Media Technology
FacultyThe Technical Faculty of IT and Design